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of the term, seems too cold and formal a word to denote that warm tone of almost fraternal feeling which subsisted be. tween the bard and his generous patron. That the poetical abilities of Horace contributed largely towards cementing an union so honourable to both cannot be denied. And yet it is equally apparent, that even if those abilities had not been what they were, still his pleasing manners, his sterling sense, his refined and elegant wit, but, above all, his deep and accurate knowledge of human nature, would of themselves have secured to Horace the confidence and affection of his friend. After this auspicious change in his fortunes, the horizon of the poet, like the glassy surface of his own Bandusian fountain, was all serenity and peace. A romantic villa at Tibur, on the banks of the Anio, and a secluded farm in the eastern extremity of the country of the Sabines, were among the favours received at the hands of Maecenas : but the most important benefit of all was the friendship and patronage of his imperial master. Amid all this prosperity, however, the mind of the poet appears never to have deviated from its accustomed equanimity. With the means of possessing an ample fortune fully within his reach, with Augustus himself for his protector and Maecenas for his friend, too much cannot be said in praise of the man who could prefer his humble abode on the Esquiline, the summer air of Praeneste, his villa at Tibur, or his Sabine farm to all the splendours of affluence; and who, in writing to his friend Licinius, could so beautifully allude to his own unerring rules of action, which had proved to him the surest guides to a happy and contented life. Perhaps too, the situation of his country may have operated in repressing any ambitious feelings in the poet's breast. Horace had seen too much of the instability of for tune ever to cherish the desire of again appearing among her votaries; and whatever we may think of the courtly
; flattery which he so freely lavished on his powerful master, still his writings but too plainly show that better feelings were not wholly extinguished, that at times he could recall
to remembrance the lost freedom of his country, and think and speak like a Roman. That he could decline offers made him by the monarch, which, if accepted, would have placed him in situations of power and emolument, is evident even from a single instance recorded by his biographer. The emperor wished him for his private amanuensis, and wrote to Maecenas in relation to him. The offer was declined, on the plea of enfeebled health, yet without producing any diminution of his accustomed friendship on the part of Augustus.
In person Horace was below the ordinary size, and inclining to corpulence. From his own account, however, he would seem to have been abstemious in his diet, and to have divided the greater part of the day between reading and writing, the bath and the tennis-court. He was subject to a deflusion of the eyes, as was Virgil to a complaint of asthma; and Augustus used to rally the two poets by saying, that he sat" between sighs and tears."
His friend Maecenas died in the beginning of November, A. U. C. 746, B. C. 8, and in his last will recommended the poet to the protection of Augustus; but Horace survived him only a few weeks; and so short indeed was the interval which elasped between the death of Maecenas and that of the bard, and so strongly expressed had been the determination of the latter not to be left behind by his best of patrons and friends, that many have not hesitated to regard the death of Horace as having been hastened by his own voluntary act. He died at the age of fifty-seven, and his remains were deposited on the Esquiline Hill, near the tomb of Maecenas.
The works of Horace consist of four Books of Odes, a Book of Epodes, two Books of Satires, and two of Epistles. One of the Epistles, that addressed to the Pisos, is commonly known by the title “ De Arte Poetica," " On the Art of Poetry.” The character of the poet and his productions is thus given by a modern writer, himself a votary of the Mu
ses. "The writings of Horace have an ajr of frankness and openness about them; a manly simplicity, and a con tempt of affectation or the little pride of a vain and mean concealment, which at once take hold on our confidence. We can believe the account which he gives of his own character, without scruple or suspicion. That he was fond of pleasure is confessed; but, generally speaking, he was moderate and temperate in his pleasures ; and his convivial hours seem to have been far more mental, and more enlightened by social wit and wisdom, than are those of the common herd of Epicurean poets. Of his amorous propensities, with the contamination of his times clinging about them, we may, out of respect to his good qualities, be silent. For let it never be forgotten, that Horace forms an honourable exception to the class of voluptuaries, and that he has left us much that is praise-worthy and valuable to redeem his er rors."
“Horace, of all the writers of antiquity, most abounds with that practical good sense, and familiar observation of life and manners which render an author, in a more emphatic sense, the reader's companion. Good sense, in fact, seems the most distinguished feature of his Satires; for his wit seems to me rather forced ; and it is their tone of sound understanding, added to their easy, conversational air, and a certain turn for fine raillery, that forms the secret by which they please. His metre is even studiously careless : he expressly disclaims the fabrication of polished verse, and speaks of his 'Pedestrian Muse.' Swift is a far better copyist of his manner than Pope, who should have imitated Juvenal. But the lyric poetry of Horace displays an entire command of all the graces and powers of metre. Elegance and justness of thought, and felicity of expression, rather than sublimity, seem to be its general character, though the poet sometimes rises to considerable grandeur of sentiment and imagery In variety and versatility his lyric genius is unrivalled by that of any poet with whom we are acquainted ; and there are no marks of inequality, or of inferiority to himself. Whether his Odes be of the moral and philosophical kind; the heroic, the descriptive, or the amatory, the light and the joyous : each separate species would seem to be his peculiar province. His epistles evince a knowledge of the weaknesses of the human heart, which would do honour to a prosessed philosopher. What Quintilian, and the moderns after him, call the “ Art of Poetry," seems to have been only the third epistle of the second book, addressed to the Pisos. The style and manner differ in no respect from the former epistles. The observations are equally desultory, and we meet with the same strokes of satirical humour ; which appear unsuitable to a didactic piece. Dr. Hurd, indeed, has discovered the utmost order and connexion in this epistle, which he supposes to contain a complete system of rules for dramatic composition. But Hurd was a pupil of Warburton; and, together with much of his ingenuity, had imbibed also much of the paradox of his master. His commentary, however, is extremely interesting."*
METRES OF HORACE.
1. DACTYLIC HEXAMETER.
Laudasbünt àlisi clarām Rhodón aut Mitý lenen.
The structure of this species of verse is sufficiently well known; it consists of six feet, the fifth of which is a dactyl, and the sixth a spondee, while each of the other four feet may be either a dactyl or spondee. Sometimes, however, in a solemn, majestic, or mournful description, or in expressing astonishment, consternation, vastness of size, &c. a spon. dee is admitted in the fifth foot, and the line is then denominated Spondaic.
The hexameters of Horace, in his Satires and Epistles, are written in so negligent a manner as to lead to the opinion, that this style of composition was purposely adopted by him to suit the nature of his subject. Whether this opinion be correct or not must be considered elsewhere. It will only be requisite here to state, that the peculiar character of his hexameter versification will render it unnecessary for us to say any thing respecting the doctrine of the caesural pause in this species of verse, which is better explained with reference to the rhythm and cadence of Virgil.